How to Become a Police Officer in Oakland

The major California port city of Oakland has a population of 413,775 people and a large police force to meet the needs of residents. Oakland is known for its warm and sunny climate, its enthusiastic professional sports fans, its proximity to San Francisco, and, especially in recent years, its cosmopolitan atmosphere and fine dining. The Oakland Police Department (OPD) is always looking for new recruits to join the team. The process for being hired by the OPD is outlined below.

Oakland Police Officer Requirements

The Oakland Police Department holds new recruits to high standards and puts them through a rigorous selection process. The minimum requirements to apply and be considered include a minimum age of 21 years by the end of basic training, US citizenship, a valid driver’s license, and a high school diploma or GED. New recruits must also be free of any felony convictions or anything else that would prevent an individual from carrying a gun.

Hopeful new candidates for being a cop with the OPD start the process with an application and then take the test set by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST. Those who successfully pass the POST exam can then take the physical ability test. The next step is an interview, which is followed by a background check and a psychological screening.

For more information about how to become a cop in a typical big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. If you are ready to apply, find specific application information at Oakland Police Department – Recruiting.

OPD Chief of Police Sean Whent has held the leadership position of the Department since 2014. He first joined the OPD in 1994 working as a police cadet and graduated from the Recruit Academy in 1996. He has worked on patrol, in support operations, criminal investigations, and internal affairs. He has also trained other cops working as a field training officer. Chief Whent earned his degrees in criminal justice administration and criminology from California State University East Bay and the University of California Irvine.

Oakland Police Department Information

The Oakland Police Department is a large police force with 695 sworn officers that includes 82 female officers. There are also 379 civilian employees working in the Department. The OPD offers a number of services to residents of Oakland, including community policing, special event policing, youth services, and neighborhood services including fun events like block parties.

Oakland Police Training Academy

The OPD Academy is a rigorous, 26-week training program that prepares new recruits for the job of patrolling and policing the city. Trainees learn about criminal law, community relations, vehicle operations, first aid, traffic enforcement, firearms, and other topics needed to work on the force. The Academy is designed to be both mentally and physically demanding and is run in a paramilitary style. Recruits attend training Mondays through Fridays with some late nights and weekends.

Oakland Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

Because the cost of living in Oakland is so high, 55.90% above the national average, cops in the area earn high salaries.1 The average annual salary for patrol officers in Oakland is $99,200.2 The Department offers salaries competitive with the average for the area as well as benefits. New recruits begin earning during training at the Academy.

The outlook for law enforcement jobs in California is positive. Growth is expected to be 6.8% between 2015 and 2022 and an average of 2,570 new positions in law enforcement agencies is are expected to open up each year.3 For more information on current RPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.

More Information on the Oakland Police Department and Crime

The OPD strives to engage community members and to get residents involved in building relationships with the Department. The Neighborhood Services Division is responsible for getting neighborhoods involved in local safety and also hosts a Citizens’ Academy for adult residents interested in learning more about the Department. For young people, the Youth Services Division offers a Police Activities League, which hosts free athletic events, the Oakland Police Explorers for teenagers to learn about policing, and several other activities.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oakland-Police-Department-Oakland-CA/391011254354978
Twitter: @oaklandpoliceca

Oakland Police Department
455 7th St
Oakland, CA 94607

Additional Resources